What do Courts Consider
The Judges and experts do not generally ask the children where they want to live. If a child has a preference that he or she wishes to express and if the child is deemed old enough to express a preference, then judges and experts will give that appropriate consideration. However, it is more common for custody experts, called custody evaluators, to interview children, determine how the thirteen legal factors provided for by statute are effected in each case and make recommendations to the Judge regarding what type of custody and what pattern of visitation are in the children’s best interests.
Children do not have an automatic right at or after age 12 to decide where they will live. The preference of a child is only one of thirteen factors examine by the court. The age at which a child can express a preference is determined on a case by case basis. The Court will generally seek to determine if the child is mature enough to express an opinion.